ALBANY, N.Y. -- Sorry for the late column today, and a couple of notes before I get into one of my favorite people in the NFL,
Thanks to the 50 to 60 folks who came out for the Tweetup last night at the minor-league baseball game in Troy, N.Y., and thanks to the people at the TriCity ValleyCats for setting up the extravaganza.
Some great questions came from the crowd. We had a guy from Toronto and another from Cooperstown come in, as well as the locals. "There's nothing like being able to press the flesh,'' said
Schefter, by the way, is due for a Tweet-tervention. He's ridiculous. He never gets off Twitter. When the Giants handed him his sideline credential at camp this morning, they listed his affiliation as: "ESPN/Twitter.'' In one month, as of 3 p.m., he's up to 1,005 Tweets. Someone get him a ticket to Betty Ford.
Today's the day Ross Tucker and I part after a week together. After 1,400 miles in the car together, the big lug can wear on me, and me on him. But it's been a great education to have a conversant, bright, optimistic-but-not-cloying former player in the car to tell you what's what in the NFL. So thanks for the company, Ross. Now I go solo for the last two weeks of the journey, starting tomorrow in River Falls, Wisc., with the Chiefs.
David Tyree makes it clear he does not want sentimentality to play one iota of a part in his fate with the New York Giants this summer. Just because he made the most famous play in the history of the franchise, and probably the most incredible play in the history of the Super Bowl, means nothing to him in August 2009. And it shouldn't. The famous ball-Velcroed-to-helmet catch that keyed the winning drive in the Giants' shocking 17-14 upset of the Patriots in the Super Bowl 18 months ago is a lifetime memory, obviously. In this camp? Unimportant.
"It shouldn't be a factor,'' he told me at noon today. "It shouldn't. Not at all. This camp is not about the Super Bowl won a couple of years ago. It should be all about the one we want to win now.''
Tyree missed last season after recovering slowly from offseason knee surgery, and it may have been for the best. The Giants would have had to whack a healthy receiver in early November, when Tyree was almost ready to play. Instead, the team put him on IR and let him heal for the 2009 season.
The Giants took two receivers in the top 100 picks of the draft --
"I compete as a receiver,'' Tyree said, "but I do bring something different to the table that the other wideouts don't. It's not like I'm going to be the one, two or three anyway [first, second or third receiver]. I never have been. But the Giants have always been fair to me. I trust them to make the right decision for the franchise. The only way I look at it is, I have to go out there and make every play count. Every route counts.''
I asked: "So what if you get the knock on the door, or the phone call, in the next few weeks, the bring-your-playbook-and-see-the-coach call? And it's over here?''
"I don't prepare for it, but I know it's a reality,'' Tyree said. "Every year I've been here, since I was drafted [sixth round, 2003], I've been considered a fringe player. Nothing's changed. They've brought in some receivers, and all you can do is go out every day and show the coaches you belong and you can help them win.''
He said he has no desire to play anywhere else, "but I've got two or three years of really good football left in me. If it can't be here, and the Giants have one of the deepest rosters in football, not every other team is so deep. I know there's a place for me somewhere. I really, really hope it's here.''
Now onto your e-mail:
Look, I'm just trying to read the tea leaves here. And the tea leaves say the Vikings felt a major need to jack up the quarterback competition because they had major doubts about Jackson being good enough to play. You don't trade for a part-time starter and court
You are preaching to the choir. I will be an avid backer of Dick LeBeau when the Hall discussion comes up this year, and I would consider both Johnson and
Very good question, and something I asked a few Steeler officials. I think it's respect for Shanahan, number one. Two: They can pick his brain about offense while he's in camp, and don't think Belichick won't do that tonight or tomorrow in Foxboro when Shanahan is there. Three: Kinship of coach.
Duly noted, and good point. But it wasn't taxpayer dollars that funded George Mitchell's investigation -- it was major-league baseball dollars.
Good point. It's a difficult question, but you're making the point I think that's the most valid.
Very, very good point. I really struggle with it. The other day, concerning the Vick story, I take comfort in the fact that I knocked it down first and fastest, and I was right. Had I not been positive, I would not have sprinted to get it out so quickly. But here's the problem, as I wrote: If I take 20 minutes and write six paragraphs and it gets out on our website 40 minutes after someone else breaks it, is it really worth doing? Because then we could be knocking down erroneous stories all day. But I hear, and I respect your point of view, and it will stick with me as I make my way into an increasingly difficult media world.
"Every single year we hear about team after team really getting along much better at this year's camp. I have followed football for over 45 years and I think it's honestly gotten to be more and more a game of attrition, so my thoughts would be to get through camp healthy, play very few starters in the abominations that have become exhibition games and pace yourselves. Thoughts? Who cares what people are eating or doing in a meeting anyway. I have enough trouble keeping interested in people when I am sitting with them at dinner or at a bar. Sorry to say your tweets are very, very trite and boring, Peter. I am sorry you (or your boss) feel compelled to stoop to this level of journalism.''
Thanks for writing. I try to strike a balance between telling people what I think they need to know about the football side of things, and what I think people --especially in the internet age -- want to know about what it's like on the human side of training camps. There are many people who feel the way you do. I understand. So when I write Monday Morning Quarterback, for instance, I try to give you maybe 70 percent of football and 30 percent of ancillary or different stuff. In a 6,200-word column (this week's length), I'd estimate that 4,500 words were strictly football. Maybe a little more. I hope people can skip over the stuff they don't like and read what they do.
Best e-mail in a long time. Thanks.
"Well, she was excited to go and, of course, she had her Big Ben jersey on. We went into the stadium early and she would ask me every 20 minutes, "Daddy, where is Big Ben?" Well, after some time of watching him, he started running for the tunnels after his warmups. My daughter was down by the railing when he ran up and handed her the football. The look on her face when she looked at me was priceless. The look on my face was in disbelief. I cried like a little kid. There was nothing that could have ever happened to me with the Steelers that would have meant more than what had just happened. The two things I love the most having an interaction right there in front of my eyes. It brings me tears just writing this and being able to share it with someone.
"Out of the 150 Steeler fans crammed in that small area, he had picked her out before running to the tunnel. The little things that players do make the biggest difference. Ed Reed,